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Coach killers strike once more. One other unhappy chapter for Edmonton Oilers

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The coach killers strike once more.

With Jay Woodcroft previous the two-year shelf lifetime of Edmonton Oilers head coaches, the group did what it at all times does when there are holes within the roster and the workforce shifts into impartial — fireplace the man behind the bench.

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With the Thirty first-place Oilers on the verge of flushing their season away by the center of November, administration served up yet one more excuse for this group, firing Woodcroft and defensive coach Dave Manson and bringing in Connor McDavid’s junior coach Kris Knoblauch and former Oiler Paul Coffey.

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This makes 11 totally different head coaches within the final 16 seasons and the fifth coach in eight years and 13 video games for the present management group — Todd McLellan (266 video games), Ken Hitchcock (62 video games), Dave Tippett (161 video games) and Woodcroft (133 video games).

If there’s a extra damning indictment on a corporation and a dressing room, I can’t consider it.

It additionally begs the query, how do you not take a protracted, laborious have a look at breaking apart the core of this hockey workforce? With their expertise, expertise and every part they need to play for this season, if it takes yet one more teaching change to get them motivated then you definitely actually need to surprise if they’ll ever have the fortitude to be a champion.

Because the Oilers languish on the backside of the league of their all-too-familiar state of upheaval, and within the wake of Sunday’s blood-letting, the one factor virtually everybody can agree on is that it’s not teaching.

Woodcroft went 79-41-13 throughout his temporary time right here, which was the sixth-best file within the league over that span. He went 26-9-3 and three rounds deep within the playoffs his first season and 50-23-9 and two rounds deep within the second. They had been eradicated by the eventual Stanley Cup champions every time.

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His tragic flaw, although, is that he didn’t take a tough sufficient line with a workforce that has by no means taken puck administration and defensive tasks severely.

Taking part in the dangerous cop is a threat — get on the unsuitable aspect of a management group lately and also you’re performed — however when the workforce wanted to be snapped to consideration there was no snap.

Going with 11 forwards and 7 defencemen didn’t assist both. It simply means you don’t have sufficient good forwards or sufficient good defencemen to ice a correct lineup. And also you by no means domesticate the fourth-line depth and confidence wanted to win within the playoffs.

That’s on him.

However a lukewarm dressing room and a lukewarm administration workforce is extra at fault. Ken Holland saddled this workforce with dangerous goaltending and that’s a serious a part of the issue.

Edmonton has a league-worst save proportion of .864. Till that adjustments, nothing else goes to alter. Whether or not the plan is to do one thing about it or cross their fingers and hope that Stuart Skinner will get loads higher stays to be seen.

Having a roster that’s so jammed up by the wage cap that it has to go two gamers quick all yr, making it extraordinarily tough to face up to accidents or sit gamers out to ship messages, can be dragging them down. All organizations are tight to the cap, however not all organizations are in the midst of the largest choke job in franchise historical past.

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When no Edmonton Oilers coach since Craig MacTavish in 2009 has survived greater than three and a half seasons, it’s ridiculous to recommend the issue is teaching.

They blamed Todd McLellan in 2018 and he at present has a Los Angeles workforce with a lot much less expertise than the Oilers approach forward of them within the standings.

Ken Hitchcock? They blamed him in 2019 and he simply bought inducted into the Hockey Corridor of Fame.

Dave Tippett? Each workforce he ever coached was famend for its willpower and construction. Few coaches may extract extra from much less. In Edmonton, the underachieving continued.

So now it’s as much as former Hartford Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch to see what he can do together with his two years on the helm.

Knoblauch has by no means been a head coach within the NHL earlier than. He went 119-90 in 4 seasons within the American Hockey League. He joins an Oilers workforce that additionally has Connor McDavid’s former agent Jeff Jackson as CEO of hockey operations.


Kris Knoblauch — 

Jay Woodcroft — 2022 (133 video games).

Dave Tippett — 2019 (161 video games).

Ken Hitchcock — 2018 (62 video games).

Todd McLellan — 2015 (266 video games).

Todd Nelson — 2014 (51 video games).

Craig MacTavish — Two-week interim

Dallas Eakins — 2013 (113 video games).

Ralph Krueger — 2012 (48 video games).

Tom Renney — 2010 (164 video games).

Pat Quinn — 2009 (82 video games).

Craig MacTavish — 2000 (656 video games)

E-mail: [email protected]

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